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John Parker

Sixty-Five Years Ago Today: Celebrating the Good Grief of ‘Peanuts’

Peanuts gang

On October 2nd, 1950, Charles Schulz's Peanuts debuted in nine newspapers for United Features Syndicate. Fifty years later, it concluded with just shy of eighteen thousand strips published in thousands of papers, with the final installment appearing one day after Schulz passed away.

Between those two loci, Peanuts begat a billion-dollar media empire, the modern American comic strip, and a legacy of progressiveness, honesty, and inclusion that endures today. If Peanuts isn't definitively the greatest comic strip of all time, it's probably the most influential, and certainly the most successful, forever altering the dominant styles and subject matter of the funny pages.

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The Amazing Powers Of Entitlement And Misanthropy: Should You Be Reading ‘They’re Not Like Us’?


When you look at the sheer range and number of original stories being told in comics form today, it’s hard to imagine a better time to be a comics reader. Online and in print, from all around the world, artists and writers are telling stories with their own voices and styles, and there’s so much to choose from that it’s sometimes difficult to know what to read next. With Should I Be Reading… ?, ComicsAlliance hopes to offer you a guide to some of the best original ongoing comics being published today.

A troubled young woman discovers that the mental problems she's been struggling with all her life are actually a form of telepathy, and that there are others with gifts similar to hers. The setup is very familiar, but in They're Not Like Us, our hero Syd discovers that the group that takes her in is a little different: they're entitled, narcissistic jerks.

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Thumbnail: Pacing And Violence In ‘Stray Bullets’


As endemic as violence is to mainstream comics, it's rare when you see a representation of it that inspires an appropriate level of shock. That's to be expected in superhero comics, where the gap between art and reality is wider, but even in books that maintain a closer relationship with the truth there are only a few books that portray violence in an un-stylized, un-sensationalized manner that still conveys how jarring it really is.

There are some great examples, from Scalped to the work of Johnny Craig (still a little sensationalized, but he gets a pass) to almost everything Garth Ennis has ever written. Even among that company, what David Lapham does in Stray Bullets is unique.

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Filed Under: , Category: Opinion, Reviews, Thumbnail

Glenn Head Hits His Peak With The Unflinching ‘Chicago’


Glenn Head has been a fixture in the underground and alternative scenes since the 80s, contributing to legendary anthologies like R. Crumb's Weirdo, Zero Zero, and his own Snake Eyes (co-edited with Kaz). He's not as well-known as many of the other names that even the moderately-educated alt-fan like me can rattle off, because he doesn't have that singular, long-form work that the others do. In Chicago from Fantagraphics, Head finally has his signature piece.

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The Magical Land of Childhood Trauma: Should You Be Reading ‘The Fiction’?


In Curt Pires and David Rubin's The Fiction for Boom Studios, a magical book makes the imaginary real, and two lifelong friends re-enter the fantastic world it contains in search of two more of their group who disappeared into The Fiction. The "Step Into a Good Book" library program might want to work out a new campaign.

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Hatred, Hope, And Horror: Should You Be Reading ‘War Stories’?


Good war comics are much harder to come by than they used to be, but there's at least one source that will remain consistent. Garth Ennis has written some of the most emotionally compelling and contextually complex stories in the genre over the course of his career, and that continues with Avatar's War Stories, with artist Tomas Aira.

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Eddie Campbell and the Mythology of Minutiae

Detail from a self-portrait by Eddie Campbell
Detail from a self-portrait by Eddie Campbell

Eddie Campbell was born on this day in 1955. Comics' greatest raconteur, Campbell has been chronicling memories, spinning yarns, and chasing trains of thought since the early 80s, influencing entire generations of creators along the way.

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Filed Under: , , , Category: Anniversaries, Art

41 Years Ago: The First Appearance of Wolverine, The Best There Is At What He Does


On July 30th, 1974, Wolverine made his first full appearance in The Incredible Hulk #181, and comics history was forever changed. For some reason. Somehow, a funny-looking, funny-talking, pint-sized, hairy Canadian, who literally scratches people, became one of the most popular characters in comics. How did the guy with whiskers on his mask become the epitome of toughness?

Created by Len Wein and John Romita, and brought to life by Herb Trimpe, Wolverine could have easily become another throwaway character. With his bright yellow-and-blue costume, he looks at least as ridiculous as every other one-and-done character, save for the arresting hook of those razor-sharp claws.

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Remembering Joe Shuster, The First Superhero Artist


On July 10th, 1914, Joe Shuster was born to a pair of Jewish immigrants living in Toronto. As a young man living in Cleveland, Shuster befriended another first-generation American named Jerry Siegel, and together the two created both a genre and an icon with Superman.

The years of legal battles and ignominy are well-known, but it's important to think of Shuster as more than a tale of woe. Let's take a moment to consider Shuster's greatest contribution to comics: raw power.

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Filed Under: , , Category: Anniversaries, DC

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